Payments Exchange

Improve Payment Security with Current Resources – and More to Come

A recent Federal Reserve webinar (Off-site) offered practical advice about how to use online resources to improve payment security – taking another step toward achieving a future of secure, fast and efficient payments that meet the current and future needs of consumers and businesses in the United States.

These online resources – the Information Sharing Data Sources (Off-site) and Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles (Off-site) – were published by the Secure Payments Task Force. This coalition of more than 200 payment industry stakeholders was active from June 2015 to March 2018 as a forum for stakeholders to advise the Federal Reserve on payment security matters and determine areas of focus for payment security and priorities for action.

“There’s not a lot of formal education around payments… This [resource] isn’t just for banks, or organizations, or non-bank providers. It’s for everyone in the ecosystem,” said Bryan Penny of Nordstrom. Penny went on to describe uses of the Information Sharing Data Sources (Off-site) published by the Secure Payments Task Force. “When you get into payments, if you just start searching the web, you don’t know if that source is reliable and has good information. All these sources were vetted by experts.”

Suzanne Martindale of Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports) described another task force deliverable, the Payment Lifecycles and Security Profiles (Off-site). These profiles of eight common payment types – from enrollment through transaction flow to reconciliation – “are meant to highlight potential vulnerabilities in various payment types, to educate stakeholders, from the experts to folks who are new [to payments], and encourage best practices in payments security.” This resource is being used “by everyone and anyone,” she said, including business leaders, product developers, risk managers and consumer advocates (including Suzanne herself).

Ed O’Neill, former Federal Reserve System vice president of secure payments, characterized the two task force deliverables as “a valuable foundation for our next phase of work.” The Federal Reserve kicked off a payments fraud study in March 2018 to analyze and prioritize payment system vulnerabilities. This research is intended to help inform the Federal Reserve’s ongoing collaboration with the industry to enhance end-to-end payment security. Key findings of the study and next steps to advance payments security are expected to be announced later this year, O’Neill said.

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